Last time when Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi was amid deteriorating security situation and strains in the PDP-BJP coalition. It was in April 2017. At that time Mufti emphasised on the importance of holding dialogue and told Modi that the government’s priority should be to disperse tension in the Valley. She also expressed faith in Modi’s commitment to follow the footsteps of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. She said that going the Vajpayee way – building trust through dialogue – was the only way forward, but the immediate priority was to disperse friction between the civilians and security forces. Vajpayee is remembered for his significant contribution in forwarding dialogue on Kashmir issue. The former BJP Prime Minister had even brought separatist hardliner Hurriyat Conference to the dialogue table. She pressed the Centre for some political initiatives which would address the alienation felt among the people of Kashmir, especially, the youth, which is being reflected in increasing incidents of stone-pelting. She said that some of the youth were disillusioned by the State but a large majority was being systematically incited against the establishment. Today the situation has not changed much. Now Article 370 and Article 35A have raked-up a new controversy which highlights the same political alienation for which Mehbooba had asked Modi to help build up trust. Ironically PDP and BJP, which are running the Coalition Government in the troubled State, are not on the same page on the Constitutional issues and on the growing trend of stone-pelting. Before this when decks seem to have been cleared for revival of PDP-BJP alliance was when regional party chief Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in renewed efforts for formation of a government after a prolonged deadlock in 2016. After the 15-minute meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, Mehbooba told reporters it was “very positive” and “good” in addressing issues pertaining to the people of the State and that she was “very satisfied”. Now what?
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